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Ma-ubin monks go hungry as commodity crisis continues

Democratic Voice of Burma Broadcast, September 12, 2007

Yangon, Myanmar -- Monks from Irrawaddy division’s Ma-ubin township said today that high commodity prices have forced them to start skipping meals as the impact of the recent fuel hikes deepens.

Nearly 400 monks from the Mahabawdi monastery said that they were unable to buy enough food to feed themselves and that the number of alms being donated by the public was steadily decreasing.

“We are skipping breakfast now since we don’t have enough money for rice for all of us. The people here are also struggling and they can’t donate
much to us,” U Paneinda, the abbot of the monastery, told DVB.

“We are no longer able to cook for ourselves as we don’t have enough food supplies,” he said.

Monks are highly revered in Burma and news of the food crisis facing the
monastery has sent a shockwave through the community. The reports have come just days after monks from different areas around the country took to the streets to protest the government’s recent decision to drastically increase fuel prices.

According to state-run newspapers, the State Peace and Development Council has donated large sums of money to several high-profile monasteries around the country since the start of the month.

But U Paneinda said that the government had not given out donations in Ma-ubin.

“We have read about the donations in the newspaper. But it never happened here in Ma-ubin," he said.

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